« PreviousContinue »
He afterwards fell into an account of the diversions which passed in his house during the holydays; for Sir Roger, after the laudables custom of his ancestors, always keeps open house at Christmas. I learned from him, that he had killed eight fat hogs for this season, that he had dealt about his chines very liberally amongst his neighbours, and that in particular i he had sent a string of hogspuddings with a pack of cards to every poor family in the parish. so I have often thought (says Siri Roger) it happénis very well that Christmas should fall out in the middle of winter snit is the most dead uncomfortable time of the year,i when the poor people would suffer very much from their poverty and cold, if they had not good cheery warm fires, and Christmas gambols to support them. I love to rejoice their poor hearts at this season, and to see the whole village merry in my great hall. I allow a double quantity of imalt to my small beer, and set it a running for twelve days to every one that calls for it. I have always a piece of cold beef and a mince-pie upon the table, and i am wonderfully pleased to see my tenants pass aivaý; a whole evening in playing their
innocent tricks, and smutting one another. Our friend Will Wimble is' as nierry as any of them, and shews a thousand roguish tricks upon these occasions."
I was very much delighted with the reflection of my old friend, which carried so much goodness in it.!. He then launched out into the praise of the late act of parliament for securing the Church of England, and told me with great satisfaction, that he believed it already began to take effect: for that a rigid Dissenter, who chanced to dine at his house on Christmas-day, had been observed to eat very plentifully of his plum-porridge.
After having dispatched all our country matters, Sir Roger made several enquiries concerning the club, and particularly of his old antagonist Sir Au
drew Freeport. He asked me with a kind of smile, whether Sir Andrew had not taken the advantage of his absence, to vent among them some of his republican doctrines; but soon after gathering up his countenance into a more than ordinary seriousness,“ Tell me truly, (says he,) don't you think Sir Andrew had a hand in the Pope’s procession?"but, without giving me time to answer him, “Well, well, (says he,) I know you are'a wary man, and do not care to talk of public matters.
The knight then asked me, if I had seen Prince Eugenio; and made me promise to get him a stand in some convenient place where he might have a full sight of that extraordinary man, whose presence does so much honbur to the British nation. · He dwelt very long on the praises of this great general ; and I found that, since I was with bin in the country, he had drawn many observations together out of his reading in Baker's Chronicle, and other authors, who always lie in his hall window, which very much redound to the honour of this Prince.
Having passed away the greatest part of the morning in hearing the knight's reflections, which were partly private, and partly political, he asked me if I would smoke a pipe with him over a dish of coffee at Squire's. As I love the old man, I take delight in complying with every thing that is agreeable to him, and accordingly waited on him to the coffeehouse, where his venerable figure drew upon us the eyes of the whole room. He had no sooner seated himself at the upper end of the high table, but he called for a clean pipe, a paper of tobacco, a dish of coffee, a wax candle, and the Supplement, with such an air of chearfulness and good humour, that all the boys in the coffee-room (who seemed to take pleasure in serving him) were at once employed on his several errands, insomuch that nobody else could come at a dish of tea, till the knight had got all his conveniencies about him,
No. 271. THURSDAY, JANUARY 10.
Mille trahens varios adverso sole colores.
RECEIVE a double advantage from the letters of my correspondents: first, as they shew me which of my papers are most acceptable to them; and in the next place, as they furnish me with materials for new speculations. Sometimes, indeed, I do not make use of the letter itself, but form the hints of it into plans of my own invention; sometimes I take the liberty to change the language or thought into my own way of speaking and thinking, and always (if it can be done without prejudice to the sense) omit. the many compliments and applauses which are usually bestowed upon me.
Besides the two advantages above-mentioned, which I receive from the letters that are sent me, they give me an opportunity of lengthening out my paper by the skilful management of the subscribing part at the end of them, which, perhaps, does not
little conduce to the ease, both of myself and reader.
Some will have it, that I often write to myself, and am the only punctual correspondent I have. This objection would indeed be material, were the letters I communicate to the public stuffed with my own commendations, and if, instead of endeavouring to divert or instruct my readers, I admired in them the beauty of my own performances. But I shall leave these wise conjecturers to their own imaginations, and produce the three following letters for the entertainment of the day.
“ I was last Thursday in an assembly of ladies, where there were thirteen different coloured hoods VOL. II.
Your Spectator of that day lying upon the table, they ordered me to read it to them, which I did, with a very clear voice, till I came to the Greek verse at the end of it. I must confess, I was a little startled at its popping upon me so unexpectedly; however, I covered my confusion as well as I could, and after having muttered two or three hard words to myself, laughed heartily, and cried, “A very good jest, faith!". The ladies desired me to explain it to them; but I begged their pardon for that, and told them, that if it had been proper for them to hear, they may be sure the author would not have wrapt
up in Greek. I then let drop several expressions, as if there was something in it that was not fit to be spoken before a company of ladies. Upon which the matron of the assembly, who was dressed in a cherry-coloured hood, commended the discretion of the writer, for having thrown his filthy thoughts into Greek, which was likely to corrupt but few of his readers. At the same time, she declared herself very well pleased, that he had not given a decisive opinion upon the new-fashioned hoods; For, to tell you truly, (says she,) I was afraid he would have made us ashamed to shew our heads. Now, Sir, you must know, since this unlucky accident happened to me in a company of ladies, among whom I passed for a most ingenious man, I have consulted one who is very well versed in the Greek language, and he assures me, upon his word, that your late quotation means no more, than that
manners, and not dress, are the ornaments of a woman. If this comes to the knowledge of my
female admirers, I shall be very hard put to it to bring myself off handsomely. In the mean while, l-give you this account, that you may take care hereafter not to betray any of your well-wishers into the like inconveniencies. It is in the number of these that I beg leave to subscribe myself,
66 Tom TRIPPIT."
“ MR. SPECTATOR, “ Your readers are so well pleased with your character of Sir Roger de Coverly, that there appeared a sensible joy in every coffee-house, upon hearing the old knight was come to town. I am now with a knot of his admirers, who make it their joint request to you, that you would give us public notice of the window, or balcony where the knight intends to make his appearance. He has already given great satisfaction to several who have seen him at Squire's Coffee-house. If you think fit to place your short face at Sir Roger's left elbow, we shall take the hint, and gratefully acknowledge so great a favour.
“I am, SIR, “ Your most devoted humble servant, C. D."
“ Knowing you are very inquisitive after every thing that is curious in nature, I will wait on you, if you please, in the dusk of the evening, with my show upon my back, which I carry about with me in a box, as only consisting of a man, a woman, and a horse. The two first are married, in which state the little cavalier has so well acquitted himself, that his lady is with child. The big-bellied woman, and her husband, with their whimsical palfrey, are so very light, that when they are put together into a scale, an ordinary man may weigh down the whole family. The little man is a bully in his nature; but when he grows choleric, I confine him to his box till his wrath is over, by which means, I have hitherto prevented him from doing mischief. His horse is likewise very vicious, for which reason, I am forced to tie him close to his manger with a packthread. The woman is a coquette : she struts as much as it is possible for a lady of two feet high, and would ruin me in silks, were not the quantity that goes to a large pin-cushion